The Dirt Diva

Tailoring your garden to your needs!

Callicoon Center (Bethelhem Rd) raised bed vegetable garden

Resurrecting an old garden started by a person since deceased is a profound experience. This garden was originally planted in the late 1970s by Lois Burrill, who passed away in 2010. It was her flower and cutting garden, which included edibles such as currants, rhubarb and asparagus. When the new owners of the property called me into help them renovate Lois’s old garden in September 2011, the weeds were up to my chin, filling every nook and cranny. The terraced wooden beds in the photos did not exist as they are seen now, but were sunken wood and stone framed beds in approximately the same location. After weedwacking the entire garden interior and waiting a week, I could see the remnants of Lois’s perennial beds. Bearded iris, rhubarb, lady’s mantle, daisies, daylilies, roses, raspberries and currants all started to become recognizable again, along with the edges of the beds, a mix of wall stone and railroad ties. The purpose of the renovation was to create raised beds for growing vegetables, and to define a space in the garden for a seating area for summertime meals outdoors. My client and I meticulously dug up and replanted the perennials into Lois’s old compost pile which by now was 100% decomposed and the perfect place to heel in the dozens of plants we were to find. We’d use the perennials in future beds throughout the property. The next task was to prune the over-grown blackcurrants, raspberries, and roses. New lumber was ordered from a local sawyer, who was able to custom cut the hefty 6×6 ties. My client loves working with stone, so each bed sits on top of a stone platform, built from stone excavated from the property. The total depth of the beds, which came to about 2 feet, has allowed my client to grow enormous vegetables, plenty to feed themselves and friends throughout the summer and fall.

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